Scottish ace Dave Newsham has secured the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin championship with four races to spare after a dominant double win at his home circuit of Knockhill. The Team Pyro driver dominated Round 22 to win the crown, following in the footsteps of Ben Winrow and Phil Glew as the third consecutive Team Pyro driver to pick up the drivers title.
Heading into the race, Newsham needed to finish just fourth of higher to win the title, and was helped by securing pole position for the race, his 14th of the season. Lee Pattison joined him on the front row, with Ed Pead, filling in for father to be Patrick Collins at Westbourne Motorsport, third. James Dixon was next up on the grid in his Total Control Racing Clio, followed by Jake Packun and team mate Sam Tordoff
Newsham got a clean start from the line, leading the pack into Duffus Dip for the first time, followed by Pattison and a quick starting Tordoff, who had jumped up from sixth into third. Clearly determined to win the race, and championship, in style, Newsham stormed off at the front, already nearly four car lengths clear by the end of the first lap.
He was helped by Pattison and Tordoff fighting hard behind, with the two nose to tail throughout the opening few laps. It was soon a three way fight for second, with Pead latching onto Tordoff's bootlid in fourth. Behind, fellow Westbourne Motorsport ace James Colburn was working his way up the small Clio field, dispatching Steven Hunter for seventh. Colburn then set the NGK Fastest Lap of the race and a new lap record for the Clio's around Knockhill. He gained another place when Tordoff began dropping down the order with damaged steering.
At the front, Newsham was having no problems, leading comfortably and just counting the laps down. With the sun shining for the first time all day, Newsham exited the hairpin for the last time and weaved his way across the line in celebration, picking up his twelfth win of the season to secure the big prize, the 2010 Championship. The win also saw the 43 year old secure the inaugural NGK Spark Plugs Masters Cup title.
Pattison and Pead followed to complete the podium, each securing their second podiums of the weekend, with Pead also picking up the ELF/Atol Driver of the Meeting award. Dixon finished fourth, in the process picking up the Graduate Cup honours, ahead of Total Control Racing team mate Mike Robinson. Colburn was next up, ahead of Hunter, Team Pyro's Packun and 20Ten Racing's Darren Wilson. Tordoff rounded out the results in tenth.
Reflecting on the weekend and the championship win, Newsham said: “This is just an unbelievable feeling. To win not only both races but the championship on my home track is just a dream come true. My first year in Clios was a learning curve but thanks to Team Pyro I've been on the pace right from the first lap and I can't thank them, and my sponsors, enough for their support. It would be amazing to be here next year driving in the British Touring Car Championship and that's certainly my goal. We're currently working hard at securing a drive with one of the top teams but we'll just have to see.”
Next up for the Clio drivers is their annual appearance at the UK round of the World Series, with Rounds 17 and 18 taking place on the new Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in two weeks time. This means they will be missing the BTCC meetings at Donnington Park, but will return to the package for the season finale at Brands Hatch in October.
2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin provisional drivers' standings – round 16:
|1st||Dave Newsham||GBR||Team Pyro||497 pts|
|2nd||Lee Pattison||GBR||JHR Developments||375 pts|
|3rd||Sam Tordoff||GBR||Total Control Racing||325 pts|
|4th||Mike Robinson||GBR||Total Control Racing||290 pts|
|5th||James Colburn||GBR||Westbourne Motorsport||281 pts|
|6th||Jake Packun||GBR||Team Pyro/Autosave||230 pts|